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FAQs about Dolphin Pumps for Circulation 

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Crack in sump Please help    5/19/13
Hi there, I woke today and noticed my external dolphin pump was making a weird noise. I disconnected the pump, and  cleaned it. When I went to go connect it again my sump cracked!
<Oh! No fun... and quite common when there's much force on through puts here>
it got 16" crack all the way down the side of it. I pulled out the water out of my sump below the crack. I bought some GE silicone 1 to fix it. Well this work, or am I screwed?
<Mmm, I'd very likely replace the tank itself... too likely that the repair will prove unsuccessful, unsightly. You could save the cracked/repaired one for a back up... but I'd affix a new piece/panel over the entire visible side... redrill>
 I have a 180 salt tank and sump is 70gallon. I also read the instruction on the back and says I got 12 hours before I can fill it back up.
<Give this 24 hours>
 My fish won't make it that long.
<Mmm, they should... put all pumps, aerators in the main/display tank>
 I pulled all the water out and put it in my r.o. bucket. I did leave the live rock in there. Please help, Becky
<Perhaps an acrylic sump replacement. Bob Fenner>
Re: Crack in sump Please help, now bad Dolphin pump.     5/20/13

Thank you Bob, I went to bed my pump was quiet I got up and it was way loud. I cleaned it out and its still loud. Its a dolphin Ampmaster pump. Not even six months old I paid $400 for it.
<Send it back... it will be replaced>
�� Its a good lessen to not work on your tank at 4 in the morning. Becky
<Yikes! BobF>

SW pump sel., appl.   07/28/07 Thank you again for your time today. It was, as I said, a pleasure to speak with someone who is articulate and knowledgeable. <A great pleasure to meet you as well Jonathan.>  > Here is the original e-mail of which we spoke and I'll give you a  call early in the week to set a day and time. <Ah!> I'm not a fishead but my wife is and we're setting up her second 250 gallon tank today. We have now two, large, saltwater reef tanks in the home and she is very good at her hobby with little if any restrictions on her financially or area-wise. But, we have two different ways of thinking of things. I'm a numbers guy and she's not. In setting up the new aquarium, I asked her how she chose her pump, in this case a Dolphin 3000. She said it was appropriate for the tank size but this doesn't work for me and I would imagine a lot of other people whose better halves are FishHeads. Question 1: How do  you know how large a pump is sufficient. <Mmm... well... there are a few ways to go about this "decision"... but, as we chatted on the phone, you're well aware of just how turbulent reef environments can be...> If your pump pushes 2700 gallons of water up a 1.5" column 3' in height every hour, it equates to a certain volume of water in and a certain amount of water out. Maintaining> this equilibrium is effected via gate valve but it would seem to me> that if you're reducing the amount of water pressure created by the pump and thus the volume that enters the tank to match that which> exits, it would be more cost-effective to reduce the pump size and> thus the power needed to run it electrically rather than  mechanically. <Strictly speaking you're absolutely correct. In a practical sense though... what she proposes... Using a well-designed and engineered pump, and throttling it down a bit possibly... is about the best one can do> That would equate to a lower cost of operation. So, with that said, my second question is that with 2700 gallons of water moving through the system each hour, we're filtering the complete tank contents just over 10X an hour or more than 240 times a day. I understand it depends on the filtration system employed (in this instance, she has a complete live rock setup in- tank, a 100-gallon sump w/ live rock, CO2 unit, UV and virtually every other system which explains why our home is host to so many fish tours a month), but just how many water changes are required for a healthy reef tank. Any help you can provide is well-appreciated. Jonathan Ames <When all energy inputs re considered, buying/using a well-made product like Dolphin's pumps saves a great deal more power (yes, even if slightly oversized) than opting for a possibly smaller, though less energy-efficient centrifugal. I think you're both doing fine here. Cheers, Bob Fenner>>

Amped With His Pump! Scott, <Hi there!> I took your advice and purchased a Dolphin Ampmaster 3000.  WHAT A DIFFERENCE!  The pump is almost silent.  It pumps a great deal of water and runs much cooler. <The Ampmaster is simply outrageous! Glad that you like it!>   Thanks for the advice.  I highly recommend this pump.  Even though the Iwaki says it is "super quiet", it isn't! James <Yep...I love Iwakis...They are built like a tank...Reliable, powerful- everything that the manufacturers say about them is true...Except they are to darned noisy! The Ampmaster is in a class by itself. Like any pump, it has its own quirks- but it's ideal for most reef applications! Enjoy! Scott F>

Pump Picks! What brand of pumps do you think are the best for outside of the sump? As in quality, quiet, and runs pretty cool? I'm looking to use the hole on the side of my sump for my 180, so I can use the Euroreef skimmer I want because the foot print is so big.... Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <I'm partial to Iwaki for their quality, power, and reliability. They are not the most quiet, but they are the best, IMO. Another good series of pumps is the Dolphin "Amp Master" series. Good power, and VERY quiet...Do a little chatting on the WWM Chat Forum and see what other fish geeks are using! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Big Pump Noise I currently have a 180g mini reef tank with an Iwaki 100 RLT as my main pump.  I am really struggling with the noise level of this pump as the tank is in the same room where I have an entertainment system.  I have enclosed the back side of the sump area and this has made it tolerable, but I am still tempted to turn off the pump when I watch a movie because of the noise. <Could you use some type of insulation as a sound barrier. I have also seen people use mouse pads under the pump to help deaden the noise> Is there a pump with similar output that would be substantially more quiet? <Others here have spoken well for the Dolphin AmpMaster although the longevity may not be as good as the Iwaki> Thanks, Marc <Hope this works out, Don>

Dolphin/Ampmaster pumps Any insight on whether this bit of puffery is likely to be true: Dolphin claims that the "HHS pumps are great for applications where the pump is in the basement and the system is on another floor. The HHS 5000 or 5900 are the most popular for this use. The motors are 1/2, 1, 2, and 3 horse power respectively. The HHS 5000, and 5900 have dual voltage energy plus motors. They are one of the most efficient 56 frame motors available."  For more see: http://www.dolphinpumps.com/highhead.htm <Hmmm... I am withholding my enthusiastic recommendations for this promising line of pumps. I have got an unusual number of detailed complaints regarding this line that has been disturbing. Leak issues, mis-wiring (failed ground) issues... and pumps not meeting the enticing low power consumption ratings cited.  For anyone that wants my opinion: Iwaki is time tested and true. They are not the penultimate across the board... but they are categorically high marked in all areas. And as with all WWM crew members... never a single free sample here <G>! I have paid good money for a decade worth of Iwakis in hobby and business applications. They are just good products. Best regards, Anthony>

- Return Pump, Follow-up - Cost is not a factor, so is there a better return pump that you'd recommend.
<Would recommend an Iwaki or Dolphin AmpMaster.> Thanks again, Mitch <Cheers, J --

Not So Beautiful Noise! Hi! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 175 reef aquarium that I am in the process of cycling.  I purchased an Iwaki 100 RLT pump for the system.  The noise is unreal! It sounds like a factory or an old appliance that is running.  Is there anything that can be done to reduce the sound?  Would you suggest another pump either Iwaki or another brand?  I don't think I can live and enjoy the aquarium with this constant noise level. Thanks, James <Well, James- I have to agree with you to a certain extent...Iwaki pumps can be rather noisy. However, I think that they are the most reliable, rugged, and consistent pumps around! I guess if I were looking for another pump in this flow range, I'd go for a Dolphin Ampmaster...It puts out a ton of water flow, is virtually silent, and is of high quality. Not the same untouchable reliability as the Iwakis, but pretty close. Some people use mouse pads under heir Iwakis to deaden the sound, but I have not found this to be all that dramatic at reducing the noise...If you just cannot handle the sound, short of making major acoustic modifications to your stand, than I'd look at a different pump! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Dolphin pumps? Hi Bob, Thanks for reply. As usual, I must keep bothering you for clarification.  You stated: "They're fine products... do you need that much flow/pressure?" I always thought the general rule of thumb for circulation was 4-10x the size of your tank. At 5' of head, the DP-800 gives 600gph, the DP-1200 gives 1050gph, while the Eheim 1060 probably around 450gph (couldn't find a pump curve). From your statement, I kinda got the feeling that I may not need that much flow?  <Hmm, clarity is pleasurable... sorry for the ambiguity... Can't tell from where I'm sitting what the application/s are... More of a "philosophical question" back to you. Yes to the "rule of thumb" for a circulating/recirculating designated pump... Do you have powerheads, submersible pumps as well? Advised> But then you recommended the bigger of the two Dolphin pumps. Sorry if I missed/misunderstood something. Thanks in advance for the reply. Hope you're having a good day. <You as well my friend. Bob Fenner>

Question on pump sizing Bob, I am getting close to setting up my 150 to replace my 75. My question is do you think that the mag5 I am using for a return is sufficient one for each return? (I know sufficient for what? <g>) I would like to have enough movement that I do not have to supplement with too many power heads, but at the same time not thrash my softies.... <S/b fine... I might add a couple of smaller powerheads just the same... near and blowing across the bottom> If not Mag 5, what would you suggest - preferably brand/model but at least gph. <If this is what I already owned I would stay with it... If starting new, I'm presently partial to Dolphin... and the size/volume? A bunch (several times the capacity of the tank per hour)... divided amongst functions. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Marty

- Sumps, Pumps, and Plumbing - Hello to all the staff at WWM! <Hello.> First off, MAD PROPS and HUGE THANK-YOUs to the entire crew! I wouldn't want to think what the hobby and industry would be like without you folks!  Late in 2003, and early 2004 I spent some time building a very nice custom stand, canopy and sump for a planned 90 Gallon rig. In 2004, I was laid-off and my expensive project was put on hold and I settled myself by enjoying my then current 40gal tank. Recently, I moved from one state to another and destroyed the old 40 gallon tank before moving. However, all the life, rocks and some sand from that tank are currently living in my new home office in a Rubbermaid container awaiting their newer, nicer, roomier home.  I figured it is only fair since I got one. At this point, I have 200 pd.s of very fine sand, have re-poly'd my tank and canopy, looked at integrating the 440W VHO light system into the canopy, have the custom sump leak-tested, have 88lbs of Tonga Kaelini LR curing in the garage (Thanks Walt and ReeferMadness.us!), and am currently in the ordering process for the tank (90 Gallon Acrylic). I posted some pictures in my user profile here of the rock on receipt. I also plan on adding pictures through-out the whole project. Anyways, I can't seem to get a solid opinion on the boards and I am at the scary part (for me) which is the plumbing and pump selection. This seems to be the hardest area to research in tank construction due to the overwhelming number of configurations. I was hoping someone might answer a few questions and tell me If I am on the right track. Ok, here goes!
<Ok, I'm wearing my seat belt.> I have already purchased 2 -- 2.0" diameter bulkhead fittings for the tank output to the sump and 2 -- 1.5" return bulkhead fittings. In your opinion is this a little bit overkill for a 90 Gallon or is my planning sound in that I wanted to run 1000gph (quietly/ish) to the sump through the outputs and that I thought that the larger the size the better in terms of clogging, noise levels, etc? <It is a bit of overkill, but not something that will cause you trouble - just takes up real estate.> Due to the stand and sump design I created, I have now figured out that I will have to mount those fittings high up on the back pane of the aquarium as my sump does not allow much in terms of extra holding capacity (the internal walls are high relative to the total height of the exterior sump walls) and I don't want to take a chance of flooding.  I won't make that mistake in design again but I still want to utilize the existing sump, darn it! It is, relative to the tank, at least, a high capacity sump (45 gallons filled) and I custom built it to the stand so that when the main door is open you will be looking at the refugium area of the sump. Considering this do you have any recommendations or suggestions for placement of the bulkheads on the back pane?  <Evenly spaced along the back wall.>  How close to the top can I safely go in the standard 1/2 Acrylic they use in 90 Gallons?  <On acrylic, you'll be fine fairly close to the top - you do realize that with the two inch bulkheads, you'll have a noticeably low water level in the tank - the outer diameter of that bulkhead will determine its placement on the back wall, meaning the lowest part of the inner diameter will be almost three inches from the top... you may want to reconsider the use of these bulkheads.> Since I will have to use the back pane I planned on using a weir built around the strained bulkheads to control the maximum amount of water that can evacuate the tank.  <Ahh yes... this would help, but how would this work with the returns?>  Also, I plan on using an anti-siphon run in my return line in conjunction with check valves to avoid flooding! Does that sound pretty bullet-proof?  <I'm not familiar with "an anti-siphon run"... but the check valves should help with this issue.>  Did I mention I have a fear of flooding?  <Think I noticed this theme, yes.> Besides the sump I also plan on building a closed loop incorporating a SCWD or similar on the system for circulation, so as to avoid powerheads and provide a higher turnover rate and a healthier environment for future denizens. Do you have any favorite devices in that arena?  <SCQD is a fine device. SeaSwirls are also widely used but much more expensive.> Since I am at the point that I need to look at ordering the pumps, I had hoped for some further input. What 2 pumps (matched if possible) would you use to drive the 90 gallon system while achieving a 10x turnover in the sump (900+gph) and a 10x in the closed loop (900+) given that: A. The sump return would be pushing 2 1.5" diameter lines to the tank with each having at least 3 90's in them and the runs would be at least 4-5 feet. --Would that roughly equate to 11 to 12 feet of head pressure?--  <I think much less... 6-7 I think.> B. The closed loop would feature 3-4 1" lines with approximately the same number of 90's and length in runs. -17 to 18 feet of head?-  <Think you're giving too much credit to those 90's - I won't deny that they are an impediment to direct flow, but I don't think they knock off even a foot for each bend.> Would 2 Iwaki 30RXLT or 2 Dolphin Ampmaster 3000's be appropriate?  <The AmpMaster would be a significantly larger pump than the Iwakis. Depending on where this tank is placed in the house, you may prefer the AmpMaster for its quiet operation, but you could likely do fine with the 2100.>  Would you use two different spec pumps? Do you have a favorite between those two or any other favorites with the newer manufacturers that might be a little less hefty in price?  <Both are excellent, I use Iwaki pumps, but they run outside in the garage where I don't have to hear them. Have many friend who use the AmpMaster and am impressed by its silent operation... is supposed to be kind to your electric bill too.> Also, for pump output plumbing, where is the appropriate place to go up in size in pipe diameter to match the return bulkhead size if the outputs on the pump is smaller? (for example, say if 1.5" bulkheads and 1"output on pump)?  <Right after the pump.> For the plumbing itself, should I use a ball or gate valve directly connected to the bulkheads or should I have a slip union between each plumbing device in the system?  <Ball valves only - and slip unions everywhere there is a device you might want to remove from the chain for replacement or maintenance.>  From what I have been able to research on my own (assuming a union between each) does the following sound ok?  Tank Output side: strainer/tank bulkhead/union/ball or gate valve/union/pipe-run/sump Sump Output: strainer/sump bulkhead/union/pump/union/manifold or tee/return pipe-runs/union/check valve/union/ball or gate valve/union/tank return bulkhead <Unions around things like pumps, check valves... not so important directly after bulkheads unless you think the connected item might have to come out at some point in the future.> In closing, I want to thank you so very, very much for all the help and at the same time apologize for having so many questions on specifics. Having someone trusted, and willing to answer some questions is so very appreciated. I promise to continue to buy at least one of each book! Thanks so much! The Drunken Monkey <Cheers, J -- > 

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